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Samsung Bows Cheaper Blu-ray HTiB

31 Mar, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Samsung Electronics March 31 unveiled three new home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems with Blu-ray capability priced from $549 — about $250 less than Ridgefield Park, N.J.-based consumer electronics manufacturer’s earlier HTiB models.

Second-generation HTiBs feature a combination Blu-ray player (formerly DVD) and multichannel amplifier — including surround-sound decoder, radio tuner and other features — speaker wires, connection cables, a remote control, five or more surround-sound speakers and a low-frequency subwoofer.

Originally announced at CES in January, the Samsung devices include the aforementioned entry-level HT-BD1250 with 5.1 surround-sound and FM tuner; the HT-BD8100 ($799) with wireless subwoofer and so-called virtual surround-sound that can be mounted on a wall; and the $799 HT-BD7200 with 2.1 surround-sound.

All three units feature for the first time BD Live (Internet-connected) capability, 1080p resolution, a JPEG viewer, and can stream Netflix movies and Pandora music downloads (with subscriptions).

The units stream Web content through an Ethernet port or separate Wi-Fi, USB 2.0 attachment, available for $80.

The HTiBs also allow docking with the Apple iPod and can play back MP3 and WMA music files, and DivX and MPEG-4 video files.

Separately, Samsung announced a new series (8000, 7000 and 6000) of flat-panel LED HDTVs that consume less energy through the utilization of edge-mounted light-emitting diodes (LED) instead of fluorescent lamps.

Priced from $1,599.99, the HDTVs also feature third-party widgets, including Yahoo-based content such as Flickr, news, weather, finance and USAToday.

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